Governor Hutchinson’s Weekly Address: Strengthening Arkansas’ Relations with Israel
LITTLE STONE – I signed a memorandum of understanding with the Israel Innovation Authority this week, and today I’d like to talk about what it means for Arkansas.
Dr. Appelbaum and I signed copies of the agreement in English and Hebrew.
This agreement affirms Arkansas and Israel’s mutual interest in sharing ideas and working together to produce technology that will benefit our nations and the world.
In the official language of the memorandum of understanding, the objective of this agreement is to promote activities that promote mutual cooperation in innovation and technological development.
I met Dr. Appelbaum last year when I was in Israel for the Prime Minister’s Smart Mobility Summit. This Memorandum of Understanding is a logical next step in strengthening our strong relationship with one of the United States’ most important allies. It affirms the deep friendship and mutual respect between Arkansas and Israel.
Our relationship with the Jewish community dates back to 1823 when businessman Abraham Block and his family were the first Jewish family to settle in Arkansas. Mr. Block and his sons opened businesses in four Arkansas counties, New Orleans and Texas. The House of the Blocks in Washington is a museum located in the historic Washington State Park.
I have had the privilege of expressing our support for Israel by signing bills that allow Arkansas to invest in Israeli bonds and prohibit state and local governments from doing business with companies that boycott Israel. .
As the Israeli Ambassador said during the signing of the bill that day in August 2017, we were sending a message that Arkansas stands against hate and anti-Semitism, and that Arkansas stands with Israel.
This agreement is a natural progression of our relationship with Israel.
My friendships within the Arkansas Jewish community have led to many personally rewarding opportunities, such as participating in the annual Menorah Lighting Ceremony in Little Rock. I was also enriched by the brief time we spent on Tuesday with our friends from Israel.
As I prepared to sign the Hebrew version of the MOU, I suggested that I was going to use my Hebrew name, which drew some laughter. The joke, of course, is that Asa is a Hebrew name.
Now that we have signed the MOU, we will explore the continuation of this mutually beneficial partnership between two leaders in innovation and technology as we begin the next stage of our long relationship.